“Canucks” Combust in Edmonton to End the Regular Season

Alright dudes, we finished outside the bottom-5! Can’t wait for summer vacation and a standing O from the fans!
Photo by John Ulan/NHLI via Getty Images

The playoff matchups are set and the Canucks will face a very good hockey team in the San Jose Sharks in their first round series this week. It promises to be a good one, partly because it’ll feature a Canucks team that doesn’t play the likes of Derek Joslin and Cam Barker for nearly twenty-minutes a game. On Saturday night, the Canucks did just that and were stomped by the Edmonton Oilers in a really ugly five minute span. Last month in Edmonton that span came right at the start of the game, and on Saturday night it came right at the end. As the Canucks advance to the playoffs, perhaps we should be happy that they won’t face the young Oilers in Edmonton exclusively on Hockey Night in Canada in the first round…

Read past the jump for scoring chance data and some analysis.

– Let’s start with the scoring chance data before dissecting the latest overwrought controversies to crop up as a result of completely meaningless game. The Edmonton Oilers were the better club on Saturday, although not by as much as the final score suggested. I have the Oilers out-chancing the Canucks 22 to 14 overall in the contest and 16 to 11 at even-strength. With the score tied however the Canucks actually controlled the chance battle eleven to eight, a number that flatters the Oilers considering half of those eight scoring chances came on their five-on-three power-play opportunity early in the third. Realistically I think the Canucks were pretty good – albeit with a bit of a hiccup of a second period – through fifty minutes on Saturday night, but then surrendered six even strength chances in the final seven minutes of the game. The Oilers got goals on five of those six chances…

– Roberto Luongo is getting a lot of attention post game for getting lit up and not talking to the press afterwards. I’m sure he’s pissed about allowing goals on five of the last six difficult shots he faced, but the idea that this will ding his confidence heading into the postseason strikes me as ludicrous. Some of Luongo’s signature performances in a Canucks uniform have come directly after some of his worst games (like that shutout in game five of the Stanley Cup Final after he allowed, like, twelve goals against in two games in Boston, or his epic game seven performance against the Blackhawks after he stunk up the joint in games four, five and then didn’t even start in game six). Roberto Luongo is teflon, and though he was clearly upset about his performance (and the performance of the team in front of him) on Saturday night, the idea that his performance will suffer going forward as a result just isn’t logical when you consider A) Luongo’s track record and B) the nature of fluctuations in save percentage.

– Henrik Sedin meanwhile is getting a lot of attention for playing twenty-two seconds of the game before hitting the showers. Ostensibly all he really did was keep his iron man streak alive which strikes me as a little bit vain, but those acting like he just laid down and let Michael Strahan sack him to set a record are taking this a bit far. An "iron man" streak is silly anyway – you can have such a streak ended if you take a game off while your wife gives birth, which seems dumb; and you get no points for appearing in the playoffs which seems even more dumb – so who really cares? Maybe Henrik should’ve had it snapped but this is just the smallest potatoe issue in the whole bag of small potatoes.

– Maxim Lapierre probably shouldn’t be centering a top-three line come playoff time. In 18 minutes on Saturday he got completely smoked by the Sam Gagner line which doesn’t bode well for how he’ll fare against line centered by, say, Logan Couture or Joe Pavelski. 

– Andrew Ebbett didn’t have an awful game all things considered. I’ll just throw that one out there and let it hang around.

– Frank Corrado was Vancouver’s lowest-event defenseman and played the second most minutes behind only Kevin Bieksa (who was a bit of a high-event disaster, though much of the damage against him came on one awful shift early in the second period). Bieksa is a high-event defenseman though, and he looked mobile and eager to scrap on Saturday night so that’s a great sign.

– The Chris Higgins, Derek Roy, Ryan Kesler line played legitimately well. That’s not a surprise, but they were the only Vancouver players who really managed to keep their heads above water.

– Mason Raymond had just a woeful month to end the season and I’m not sure how you can justify keeping him in the top-nine, frankly, much less the top-six. Number 21 had another weak outing on Saturday, and sent the puck over the glass early in the third period to set up the five-on-three power-play opportunity that the Canucks never really recovered from…

– That’s really all I’ve got. The team hits the reset button now and we await the playoff schedule. Depending on the outcome of Sunday’s Senators, Bruins game it’s even possible that the Canucks could be on TSN this postseason, which, actually I’d be all for. Ray Ferraro better work on his "great save Luongo" call.

Scoring Chance Data

A chance is counted any time a team directs a shot cleanly on-net from within home-plate. Shots on goal and misses are counted, but blocked shots are not (unless the player who blocks the shot is “acting like a goaltender”). Generally speaking, we are more generous with the boundaries of home-plate if there is dangerous puck movement immediately preceding the scoring chance, or if the scoring chance is screened. If you want to get a visual handle on home-plate, check this image.

Scoring Chance Totals

Scoring Chance Totals 1st 2nd 3rd Total
Vancouver (EV) 5 (3) 2 (2) 7 (6) 14 (11)
Edmonton (EV) 2 (2) 7 (6) 13 (8) 22 (16)

Individual Scoring Chance Contributions:

Individual Chance Contributions Taken Created Total
Derek Roy 2 1 3
Steve Pinizzotto 2 0 2
Chris Higgins 2 0 2
Ryan Kesler 1 1 2
Jannik Hansen 1 1 2
Zack Kassian 1 1 2
Mason Raymond 1 0 1
Keith Ballard 1 0 1
Maxim Lapierre 1 0 1
Andrew Ebbett 1 0 1
Tom Sestito 1 0 1

Individual Scoring Chance Differential:

Scoring Chance Diff. EV F – A SH F – A PP F – A Total F – A
Kevin Bieksa 7 – 11 0 – 1 1 – 0 8 – 12
Keith Ballard 3 – 2 0 – 4 1 – 0 4 – 6
Zack Kassian 2 – 5 0 – 0 1 – 0 3 – 5
Steve Pinizzotto 2 – 3 0 – 0 0 – 0 2 – 3
Derek Roy 4 – 3 0 – 4 1 – 0 5 – 7
Ryan Kesler 5 – 3 0 – 0 0 – 0 5 – 3
Cam Barker 1 – 5 0 – 0 0 – 0 1 – 5
Chris Higgins 3 – 2 0 – 1 1 – 0 4 – 3
Mason Raymond 1 – 6 1 – 0 1 – 0 3 – 6
Andrew Ebbett 5 – 5 0 – 1 1 – 0 6 – 6
Frank Corrado 1 – 4 1 – 1 1 – 0 3 – 5
Tom Sestito 2 – 5 0 – 0 0 – 0 2 – 5
Dale Weise 2 – 5 1 – 0 0 – 0 3 – 5
Henrik Sedin 0 – 0 0 – 0 0 – 0 0 – 0
Jannik Hansen 2 – 4 0 – 0 1 – 0 3 – 4
Derek Joslin 8 – 9 0 – 5 0 – 0 8 – 14
Max Lapierre 2 – 9 0 – 2 0 – 0 2 – 11
Andrew Alberts 2 – 4 1 – 1 0 – 0 3 – 5
  • JI123

    This business of “resting” half your team has got to stop. It’s really disrespectful to the fans who pay good money to come out to a game. If I was a Vancouver fan in Edmonton and shelled out big bucks months ago to see my team, and showed up to discover that the coach and management were sitting the entire top forward line and top two defensive lines, I would be really angry. It’s not just the Canucks – every playoff-bound team seems to be getting in on this action.

    I have no problem resting one or two players if they’re a little banged up, but sitting half your team because you’re scared of an errant puck is just an insult to the people who pay money to come to games.

  • JI123

    Thanks so much for doing these, TD. I’ve enjoyed them all season long. (Btw, I keep trying to get one of the surveys, but hasn’t popped up yet.)

    I scanned “Fear the Fin” and “Jewels from the Crown”. The “Fear the Fin” crowd is actually happy to play Vancouver, and they seem plenty aware of advanced stats. Strangely, the “Jewels from the Crown” crowd seemed happier to avoid Vancouver, especially worried about hitting a hot goalie in Schneider. They seemed confident about facing St. Louis.

    I’d probably side with the “Fear the Fin” crowd if I were a fan of either of those teams. Vancouver doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence, although the team had a discombobulated season, with so many regulars out for extended periods. It’s difficult to assess what kind of team will show up when the Sharks come to visit.

  • JI123

    Yes, thanks very much for posting these stats all season.

    The stats really help to paint a more objective picture of the games, which helps to blunt the emotional responses when the Canucks loose the odd game.

    On to the “real” season!!

  • Fred-65

    What can you say a black eye for the canucks organization. Lets not forget this is a preview of post Sedins hockey and unlike TO the fans will simply stop attending if they’re noty being entertained, watch out Mikey prospective customers are watching you

  • Fred-65

    It’s not really a preview of post-Sedin Canucks hockey. When the Sedin’s do leave/take a reduced role, 2 first-line salary cap hits become available. I’m going to make a safe bet than GMMG is not going to replace Henrik with Lapierre, but will seek out a proper first-line centre.